Tax Alert: Passport Status Affected by Delinquent Tax Debt

Acting on legislation issued by Congress in 2015, the IRS will begin sending the State Department lists of U.S. citizens with “seriously delinquent tax debt” (defined as more than $50,000 of unpaid taxes). The State Department will be required to refuse new passports to all names on the lists. At their discretion, the department may also revoke these taxpayers’ currently issued passports.

Last week, the IRS announced that it would send Letters 508C, notice of certification of seriously delinquent federal tax debt, to both the State Department and the taxpayer’s last known address within 30 days.

According to the IRS, the State Department will take action within 90 days. U.S. citizens living abroad may be forced to return to the states until their tax debt is resolved.

The legislation severely limits taxpayers’ rights to appeal the decision, so the time to act is now.  Avoiding passport denial or revocation can only be done in the following scenarios:

  • Taxpayer pays the tax in full or enters into an installment agreement or an offer in compromise with the IRS.
  • Taxpayer has already made a timely request for collection due process and the hearing is pending.


Consult with your Sax tax advisor right away if you have any questions or concerns about this impending action by the IRS and State Department.

Get in touch with Sax by filling out the form below: